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Real Humans of the Wharton MBA Class of 2020

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Have you been anxiously awaiting an invitation to interview at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School? What better time to learn more about the school’s current first-year MBA class?

You’re in luck, because the latest installment in our Real Humans series today features the Wharton MBA Class of 2020. But before we introduce you to individual members of that class, we’ll paint a picture of the class as a whole using these stats published as part of the class profile.

“This class is an impressive collection of leaders from all walks of life, backgrounds, nationalities, industry experiences, and ambitions,” Wharton Deputy Vice Dean Maryellen Reilly shared in a post to the school’s MBA Admissions Blog back in August. “These newest members of the Wharton community bring with them a wide range of perspectives to enrich their shared experiences both in and outside of the classroom.”

Application volume was off by 6.7 percent year over year, dropping from 6,692 to 6,245. But Wharton was joined by most leading business schools in this regard this admissions season. And even though application volume was down, average GMAT score returned to the school’s record high of 732, matching the Class of 2017.

Perhaps one of the biggest shifts between last year’s class and this year’s was an uptick in humanities undergrads, from 41 to 45 percent of the class. Students from STEM backgrounds make up another 29 percent of the class, trailed by those who studied business, at just 26 percent

One-third (33 percent) of the incoming class is international, up from 32 percent last year. Although students this year hail from 80 different countries, compared to just 65 one year ago. U.S. students of color make up another third of this year’s class, unchanged from last year.

There are 862 students in the Class of 2020, one shy of the class before, and the percentage of female students slipped one point, to 43 percent.

In terms of prior work experience, former consultants outnumber all others by a considerable margin, making up 27 percent of the class, up from 26 percent last year. The next-largest group, at 13 percent, comes from private equity/venture capital, followed by 10 percent from tech.

Year of Big Gifts
Already this fall, Wharton has announced two major alumni gifts that promise to significantly impact future students. The first, a $50 million gift from alumnus Marc J. Rowan (W’84 & WG’85) and his wife Carolyn, is the largest single gift in the school’s history. It will help attract new world-class faculty and support the Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM), a groundbreaking program on economic policy analysis.

The second, announced just last week, is a $25 million gift from alumnus Nicolai Tangen (W ’92). It will fund construction of Tangen Hall, the first-ever dedicated space for cross-campus entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania. It will also establish a scholarship for international undergraduate students.

Wharton was also one of the first leading business schools to share employment data for the most recent graduating class, the Class of 2018, which it did last week. Highlights include a $5,000 increase in median annual salary, slightly more graduates headed into finance (36.9 percent, as compared to 33 percent last year), and slightly fewer headed into consulting (25 percent, down from 28) and tech (14.9 percent, down from 16). For more details on where Wharton grads are getting jobs, click here.

Without further ado, allow us to introduce you to a handful of individuals in the Wharton MBA Class of 2020. Our thanks to these students for participating. The responses they’ve shared help shed light on the current Wharton student body as well as what made the Philadelphia school the right choice for them.

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.